I have a big imagination. I think that’s why I’m so nostalgic. This morning I was thinking how—when I think of my memories—I imagine a happier version of myself within them. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to peek back at the past.

But this morning a truth crept in, making me realize that while I see a happy memory with a happy me, I know the girl in that memory wasn’t happy a lot of the time. And instead, the girl in that memory lived with worry, dread, anxiety. Whether it was about school or work or just not wanting a moment to end. Afraid of what’s next, of change, the unknown.

An hour ago I found myself sitting on my balcony, the wind brushing my face, eyes closed. I was remembering mornings on the front porch at my grandparents cabin, and how they felt like this. The wind would brush my face the same way it does now. The pine needles would dance. I’d sit in the cold on that porch of the cabin that we visited so many weekends growing up. Those are happy memories. But the girl in them was just as I am now. Not fully present, dreading the moment’s end. Thinking about what’s next. Wanting weekends to last forever. Fearing change and wondering when another happy moment would arrive.

Funny how patterns stay with us. Looking back, looking forward. Instead of just living in the right now. But maybe there’s also comfort in knowing that just because life isn’t always happy and it’s hard and you’re not always okay, you can still find joy in small moments. Like a quiet morning on a porch with the wind kissing your face.

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